ANOTHER update on Bogart's diagnosis of shoulder and elbow dysplasia


Thanks for suggesting that we submit the x-rays to the OFA. VERY interesting results. We only received a preliminary evaluation regarding the elbows and hips, because Bogart is not 2 years old yet (a requirement). For the shoulder, they did send an official determination.  Here's what we were told by OFA:

Mild hip dysplasia

NO sign of elbow dysplasia

NO shoulder dysplasia

So three different vets in my area have looked at these x-rays and come to the conclusion that there was dysplasia in shoulders and elbows but NOT the hips.

;-)  I'm hoping OFA can be trusted to give the most accurate determination - in any case we are a lot happier than we were a month ago.  Since the first diagnosis we have had 4 acupuncture treatments, one chiropractic adjustment, joint supplements and holistic pain meds, increased fish oil, changed diet from "hot" proteins to "cold" proteins (still Orijen, just different mix). That had nothing to do with the joints but the vet who did the acupuncture treatments told me some dogs run "hot" and some "cool" - and Bogart shows he is running "hot" in her opinion.  If you google the hot vs. cold proteins you will find some interesting information.


earlier follow-up post:

Went to see another vet today, that our primary vet referred us to. Dr. Wansky does both traditional and holistic treatments, and is very experienced with acupuncture.

She really took the time to answer many questions an talk me through different courses of action. She seemed to think we should consider surgery because Bogart is still so young. Anyone out "there" whose Corgi has undergone surgery for dysplasia? I'd like to know more.

She gave Bogart his first acupuncture treatment. He was very calm throughout and even seemed to doze off for a bit. We are going to do 3 more - one a week, and see how it makes him feel. She recommended increasing the amount of fish oil, up to 50 mg per pound of body weight - and favors salmon oil which is particularly good for joints. She prescribed a herbal pain treatment 3 times per day which will take the place of Rimadyl.

We also talked about exercise, it will be important to keep his muscle tone good, and besides swimming, walking is the best option... So we will do some shorter hikes starting this weekend.

She said she could tell by the darker shade of pink of his tongue, that he has some chronic pain. It should be a lighter shade of pink when there is no pain... Had not heard that before.

I submitted my first claim to VPI, we will see what they cover - at least the x-rays and exam from last week. It will be interesting.

The vet said AKC should be notified. My regular vet is submitting x-rays to OFA this week. They will evaluate only the shoulders because your dog has to be 2 years old for them to review the knee dysplasia, apparently.

Original post January 3, 2014

Bogart had x-ray's today that were reviewed by his vet and another surgeon. He isn't even two years old so it sure is a blow to think that he will be saddled with this for the rest of his life. The vet suggested laser therapy and has also put him on Dasuquin. Anyone tried laser therapy? Also considering acupuncture. Our vet thinks it would be worth trying methods to help the condition besides pain medication such as Rimadyl.

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I am so sorry, he is so young to have to deal with that.  I hope whatever you choose helps him enjoy his life to the fullest.

I don't know anything about laser therapy tho I have heard people speak highly of it.  I can speak highly of acupuncture tho.  Max has been doing it for 3 years for his neck.  It took my boy out of pain that was so bad I was afraid I would have to make a decision.  What I thought was just slowing down from age wasn't.  He has been playful, perkier and all around so much happier.  Heck, it impressed me enough that I now go for my back.

Does he limp I assume? I personally would send the xrays to the OFA for confirmation before I did anything too drastic.

Jane's suggestion is good.  I had a dog where we were unsure of what was going on and my Vet sent the X-rays to a Veterinary School at the University of Colorado, so a Vet school may also be an option.  I don't know about laser surgery, but laser is still an invasive procedure, so I would try acupuncture first.  Bogart is such a handsome fellow,  I hope things work out well.

Thanks for your suggestions. The laser therapy is not surgery. It is a special light applied to the joints to stimulate blood flow (from what the vet told me). It is not "hot" and does not hurt. In this case laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It is also supposed to reduce pain in the affected joints and repair tissue by photobiomudulation.

That sounds good. My only experience was with my own laser eye surgery, which was also not hot nor painful ( I was awake as they did it with no sedation ) but it was invasive. What you describe seems more benign, and you may benefit from both techniques (laser and a few acupuncture sessions) as they work on different principles and could be complementary.  Keep us posted.

Please get a second opinion.

In the first place, "laser therapy" is something that is practiced on humans by chiropractors. Google "laser therapy efficacy" (without the quote marks) and decide about it for yourself.

Second, some vets are actually human beings and so they make mistakes. Some, being human, even slip in the ethics department now and again and tell pet owners some mighty tall tales. My last GerShep was bred and had started training as a tracking dog and so presented some potential to mother high-quality search-&-rescue dogs. When she arrived at the point in life where I needed to decide whether to spay her or to keep her intact for a year or two and breed her, I had her hips X-rayed for dysplasia.

The vet who did these X-rays, highly recommended by a friend of mine, announced the dog had severe dysplasia in both hips and -- get this! -- the dog needed to have complete hip replacements in both joints!

Well, of course I didn't have that kind of money. If the dog was in that bad shape, I would have to send her back to the breeder, who intended to put her down, or I would have to put her down myself.

Fortunately, I had the sense to take her to a guy who had bought out the practice of the finest large-dog vet in the city, when that guy retired. Figured if he took over this guy's practice, at the very least he would have a fair amount of experience with large dogs, because everyone in town who knew anything about dobermans, Ger-sheps, Danes, and various Malossers took their beasts there.

When he examined the dog, he was skeptical. When he saw the X-ray, he said it was so poorly done there was NO WAY of determining any kind of rational diagnosis from it -- he pointed out to me exactly what was wrong with it. He then did another series of X-rays, which he sent to OFA. His opinion that the dog had mild dysplasia in one hip and none in the other was confirmed by the ratings sent back from OFA. The dog lived to a ripe and comfortable old age without surgery or any other treatment. Without puppies, too. ;-)

The takeaway message from that experience, which I've followed ever since: QUESTION AUTHORITY.

I think that sounds like a good idea. As a money saver, there is a product called Cosequin (which is basically Dasequin) and you can buy it at Costco often for 1/2 what vets sell it for. An OTC human glucosamine/chondrotin supplement works great too. Try adding fish oil as well to help with joints. 

Laser is a good idea too. My friend works at a vet that frequently uses laser therapy and its VERY simple and pain free for the dog. She had a dachshund who was paralyzed begin walking after 3 or 4 laser treatments. I'm considering it on Franklin for some muscle scarring he has that causes occasional limping.  

I would also get a second opinion by somebody familiar with corgis. Often corgi joints look dysplastic because of their dwarf nature. Also, if the x-rays were not done under anesthesia then they can not be sent to OFA. See if you can get a copy and take him to an orthopedic specialist for review. 

Melissa...I started adding fish oil to both dogs diets...I just buy the giant size human bottle and we share.  I started using it last winter because Max gets extremely dry, itchy skin.  I noticed an improvement in his shedding and started Katie on it too.  I have read a number of benefits with fish oil including the same heart benefits that we humans get.  But and to me this is a big seems to be working along with his acupuncture to keep him moving well and pain free.  He went 16 months without an acupuncture treatment for a chronic problem in his neck...that's a long time.  He must have jumped wrong for his toy and I could see him slightly favoring his neck about 2 months ago so I took him in for a "tune up" treatment only and he is back to being frisky, constantly wants to play, herds the cats and so on.  Can I say definitively that the fish oil has, I'm not a vet but from what I see with my dogs especially one with a severe sure seems to help.

I am so sorry to hear this.  Have you talked to Bogart's breeder?  I would consider getting another opinion from a teaching hospital or specialty clinic.   It seems a bit odd to me to have bilateral shoulder AND elbow dysplasia in a Cardi that young, and it looks like he came from a decent breeder.   According to OFA, only 4% of tested Cardis have elbow dysplasia

Which puts them 55 out of 109 listed breeds.

A search for "shoulder dysplasia corgi" reveals virtually no results but your own post. Indeed, the term "shoulder dysplasia" doesn't really seem to be used.  The search results for "Shoulder dysplasia dog" turn up osteochondrosis.  All of that makes me wonder if the doctors are looking at the dwarfed joints of your dog and seeing pathology where there isn't any?  Or seeing major pathology where there is minor.

If it were me, I'd be getting another opinion I think.

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I will send the films to OFA, could not hurt to have them reviewed. He already gets fish oil, the content of a capsule squirted on his food once or twice a week (human grade). I would like to try acupuncture before laser therapy. Had to cancel a four week herding class we signed up for, but instead we will pursue CGC and work towards therapy dog status to be able to visit children's hospitals etc.

A good plan.  OFA has the radiographs sent in and evaluated by three specialists and then gives a consensus.  They should be familiar with dwarf breeds.  I have not had personal experience with the conditions you mention, but in hip-dysplasia, unless there is severe pain, walking is beneficial because it builds muscle which helps keep the joint in place, whereas running and "tearing around" can easily pop the joint out of place and do repeated damage.  Some areas have dog swimming/rehabilitation pools available.  That's great exercise because no weight on the joint, just gentle, strength building movement. Will keep sending out loving thoughts towards your Bogart.

There are 2 types of lasers being used.  The one that is called class IV or K laser goes deeper.  I have a vet friend who is certified and thinks the procedure is very beneficial for a lot of uses, even stimulating the area for better recovery after surgery.  The IV or K has more uses.


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